The Last Exorcism – Part II

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Posted March 4, 2013 by in

Rating

Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

1.5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: horror
 
Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
 
MPAA Rating: PG-13
 
Actors: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark
 
Length: 88 minutes
 
Release Date: 3/1/2013
 
Studio: Arcade Pictures, Strike Entertainment, Studio Canal
 
 
What We Thought

As mere scare machine, Part II is harmless and predictable.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
2010’s The Last Exorcism was one of the better found footage films out there, both critically well received and modestly successful at the box office.  But they just couldn’t leave it the Hell alone.  The Last Exorcism – Part II finds the demon Abalam trying to possess teenager Nell Sweetzer…again.
     Nell wanders into a suburban home, bloody and catatonic.  After a brief hospital stay, her doctor sends her to the Devereux House, a halfway house for runway teenage girls.  Frank Merle (Muse Watson), who runs Devereux House, assures her that her past—whatever it may be—cannot come back to haunt her there.  However, signs of Abalam’s presence are manifest everywhere she goes.
     Part II jettisons the found footage style in favor of traditional filmmaking style, but what it gains in visual coherence, it loses in narrative coherence and internal logic.  A voodoo priestess tells Nell that Abalam “is powerless without you.”  Up till that point, Abalam had possessed at least two people, murdered one, and levitated Nell’s sleeping body.  Now, spoilers from here on for parts I and II, but hear me out.  Merle tells Nell that Abalam isn’t real, and Nell tries to believe that herself (more on this in a moment).  However, a picture frame falls down, revealing a protective symbol on one of Devereux House’s walls.  Does Merle not know that that is there?
     The original kept you guessing if anything supernatural was happening at all, or if Nell’s problems were psychological.  The sequel explores Nell’s teenage psyche once again—her blooming sexuality and need to fit in—but it lacks the ambiguity of the first film; we know Abalam is real in the film’s world, so the suspense is gone.
     As mere scare machine, Part II is harmless and predictable.  Take for example a scene where Nell, told that a boy has called her, runs downstairs to answer the phone.  Of course, the caller is Abalam.  Nell slams down the phone, and quickly disconnects it.  If you guessed that the phone rings again anyway, this is not your first horror movie.  However, the pacing of the scene is rushed.  After Nell disconnected the phone, it rings again seconds later.  The scene needed to breathe, and let you think she was safe, and only then should the phone have rung once more.
     Part II is nothing more than a cash-in on the first film.  Ashley Bell is back as Nell, delivering another fine performance, and Eli Roth and company are producers once more, but the writer and director of the first film are absent, as is their creative driving force.  Part II doesn’t illuminate the first film, such as what the significance is of the sacrifice of Nell’s baby, and doesn’t add anything of its own.  The Last Exorcism – Part II is a perfect example of why people hate sequels, being inferior to the original while sharing little in common with it.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

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